Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I took the plunge and dyed my own hair with a home coloring kit today. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I knew it was time for a change. My hair had been bugging me lately. It was getting sort of gray on top and crazy light red at the bottom. This two-tone mismatched look was starting to get on my nerves.

So I did a little research on the internet. (It did not help much.) Then I stood in front of the endless display of hair dye at Target today and after 30 minutes, picked one that seemed like it might not turn my hair orange.

"10 minutes!" the box proudly touted. I will go on the record here and say that 10 minutes may be the amount of actual time the dye has to sit on the hair, but the dying process took much, much longer than that. First I had to read the instructions a dozen times. Remember, I have never done this before and it involves altering what many women consider their most important feature. To say it's scary is an understatement. Although, I guess it wasn't scary enough to cause me to actually do the strongly suggested allergy test 48 hours before using the product. I also opted to skip the "strand test" I had read about online. The strand test is designed to see what a piece of hair turns out like before globbing the dye all over. Allergy tests and strand tests are for wimps. I was diving in blind.

I also had to take time to search for old towels and decide what to wear. I finally just went naked and secured a large towel around my neck with a clothespin. I told you I was new at this.

The 10 minutes was also greatly augmented by the fact that my hair is extremely long and thick, and I had no clue what I was doing. It took a full 20 minutes just to get all the dye applied. The hair I started with was way past the 10 minute mark by then, and the hair I ended with might have only gotten about 5 minutes of dye. Thankfully, this didn't cause any problems.

At one point, a large strand of freshly dyed hair fell across my forehead and caused an immediate red mark and burning sensation. I pretty much freaked out. I was regretting not doing the allergy test, praying, ripping off one plastic glove, and feverishly scrubbing my face with a fresh wet washcloth. Thankfully, there were no lasting problems here either. I think I acted quickly enough to minimize the irritation.

It turned out that applying the dye was actually the easy part. Getting into a shower and rinsing out the dye is a nightmare. There was brown everywhere. I was continuously fearful of getting dye in my eyes, or burning all my skin off with harmful chemicals as the dye washed down my body. I worried that the water might never run clear...that my eyes would burn...I wondered if I was even close to doing this right.

Finally the rinsing was over, the conditioner applied, and I was breathing easier. After toweling my hair dry I could already tell that I was going to be happy with the new look. My hair is all the same dark brown color now, no more two-tone look for me. The gray hairs are also brown, though a bit lighter in shade which make them look like nice highlights.

The entire process took an hour and will wash away in 28 shampoos, or so it says. I guess I'll be doing this again in 6 weeks. I hope that it only gets easier.


Kaitlin said...

My friend has dyed her own hair before but one time she decided she wanted to do the "stripper" to her hair before the dye. She had never done this before. Her hair ended up orange and straw like. The next day she went to her hair stylist to fix it. I don't reccommend doing the stripper to your hair, especially if you are inexperienced.

About the rinsing thing, she usually does it in the kitchen sink with the sprayer. It seems easier that way and doesn't make a mess in the shower.

Rachel said...

Wow...that was a process! I bet it will get easier each time you do it.

Lynn Leaming said...

It does get easier. I like the kind that washes out instead of the permanent ones that leave your roots growing out. I use Natural Instincts by Clairol and love it. Have never had any out of the ordinary happen with it. Keep my old towel and old rag under the bathroom sink and use them over and over.

Quad Squad! said...

Sounds like you went the Nice 'n Easy route! (or maybe all hair dyes have the same instructions!) That's the kind I usually use too. It does get easier because you know what to expect, but it still takes forever!

Do you remember when we dyed your hair in college?

belinda said...

I've never been brave enough to do anything on my own with my hair. That's one thing I'll have to choke down the cost of . . . I can do without something else.